It is our sincere hope that this outline of Obadiah will aid you in your study of God’s holy Word. May you discover Him as you read His letter to you.
Like Joel, we know almost nothing about the prophet Obadiah. A Jewish tradition links him with Obadiah, the servant of wicked King Ahab. And an early Christian author identified him as an officer of Ahab’s son Ahaziah. Such is possible. Scholars debate about whether the situation describes events around 845 B.C. or around 586 B.C. If he prophesied around 845 B.C., then we know that Obadiah, the servant of Ahab, was alive 22 years earlier. Perhaps he was a young man then (1 Kings 18:3-16) and survived past the taking of Elijah in 849 B.C. If so, he may have been both the officer to Ahab and to Ahab’s son.
Nevertheless, I believe that the prophesy occurred sometime immediately after 586 B.C. The arguments otherwise are weak. In favor are the many similarities between the book of Obadiah and Jeremiah 49:7-22 as well as Psalm 137:7.
The prophesy is entirely against Edom, the descendants of Esau, the brother to Jacob who was the father of the Israelites. It is a prophesy of destruction. It was carried out. Around 500 B.C., the Nabateans from northern Arabia drove the Edomites out of Edom. They settled in southern Judah and became known as the Idumeans. The Maccabees forced them to be circumcised. Herod the Great was an Idumean (an Edomite). They were almost obliterated by Titus because they joined in the rebellion at Jerusalem.
Date: 586 B.C. (?)
- The Extent of Judgment 1-9
- The Reasons for Judgment 10-14
- The Retribution of the LORD 15-16
- The Exaltation of Israel 17-21
Key Idea: “As you have done, it shall be done to you” 15
Key Passage: 15
What you do to others will be returned to you. Jeremiah 50:29; Habbakuk 2:8; Matthew 26:52; Luke 6:38; James 2:13; Revelation 13:10.